Underscoring the troubled financial health of print media, News Corp. said it would record a non-cash impairment charge of $1.2 billion to $1.4 billion during the current fiscal quarter to reflect diminished value of its publishing assets.
The company, which owns the Wall Street Journal, New York Post, the Times of London, the Australian and the HarperCollins book publishing house, made the disclosure Friday afternoon in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The goodwill and impairment charge was revealed ahead of the planned breakup next month of Rupert Murdoch's $76-billion media empire.
News Corp. is preparing to divide into two separate publicly traded companies: 21st Century Fox, which will boast the lucrative TV networks and Fox movie and television studio. The spun-off company, which will consist of the newspapers, book publishing, a nascent educational materials business and TV channels in Australia, will take the name News Corp.
In its SEC filing, News Corp. did not identify the titles that had suffered the greatest losses in value. However, the company said its vast portfolio of newspapers in Murdoch's native Australia were responsible for a major portion of the write-down.